The Depression in the Family

I went for blunt. The subversive, walk around it, can’t hurt her feelings, not sure I should say this, didn’t work last time. So I sent her a text. It read, “Mom says your depressed?” This time around, I wasn’t going to spare her feelings of inadequacy. We were going to talk about it. Because it has to be better this way. She has to know I can listen, because I know what’s going on. I’m gong to make normalcy out of the situation. It’ll be more comfortable for her, and she’ll talk more. That time a couple years ago, she wouldn’t talk to us about it. Now she has to. Because I asked her. I asked her directly.

gif saying i think we should talk about this

but i’m not sure how

She sent a text back. “Lol, that’s correct.” She sent the text back within the minute.
I had to make sure she wasn’t as bad as last time. I tried to remember what it felt like in that dark. Because I thought it would connect us. “Oh that sucks. How bad on a scale of bell jar to rocks in pockets?”
I got a text back two minutes later. “Um it’s in waves from mild inertia to contemplating ovens with new found interest.”
“No deep black holes of doom?” I tried to keep it lighthearted. I worried that if it became too serous she’d shut down on me.

gif of a black hole of depression

it’ll eat you, careful

“A bit.” I thought she’d run with my joke. I thought she’d talk about being a spaceship drifting or make an Apollo 13 or David Bowie joke. But she’d said, “a bit.” I wanted to scream and call her right then. I told myself to be calm and stay light.
“Goodness how dreadful. I’m so sorry. Anything helping?” I didn’t know how to help. It was too late to ask her if there was someway I could do anything when you’re spiraling down.
“I’m eating chocolate pecan pie from our local neighborhood bakery.”

gif of a piece of pie

a piece makes all the difference

So she was ok. She knew what was wrong. She took steps to prevent and cope. When she got here for Christmas, I could see for myself. She can hide behind texts, but not my eyes. We’ll make sure she’s better then.

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14 thoughts on “The Depression in the Family

  1. Pingback: Cool plankton. | Live Love Laugh

  2. kinley65

    I’ve had depression my whole life and it can be so frustrating for people to deal with, especially on the outside looking in. As the depressed person you want to look competent and not needy or feeble, but inside you might be fighting a losing battle. Plus, people tend to impose on you normalcy that’s not real, thus compounding the problem. My sister recently told me that she doesn’t see me as mentally ill and I couldn’t express to her how frustrated that made me. She said it was just that she saw me as a good and well-put-together person but I reminded her that I was mentally ill and that when people deny it, it tends to create problems for me. It becomes another barrier to real communication. Not that I want to be perceived as some cripple but the truth matters and I want people to see me as I am, not just as how I try to project myself, as being together and competent. It’s good that you can be so honest and keep an eye on her. Depression can kill and it often will. I always tell people that it’s a disease not unlike schizophrenia, in that it distorts your perception of reality. The mood part of it is more symptomatic. It’s insanity, not a bad mood, which is why it can be so unpredictable and dangerous.

    Reply
  3. peaceloveetrees

    Hi. As someone with depression, constantly avoiding my family, I just want to say thanks. Keep trying. It helps to know others aren’t scared to hear about our messiness. Check out my creative writing blog, it may be insightful for you. Peaceloveetrees.WordPress.com Thanks for the blog!

    Reply
  4. manchesterflickchick

    Too much shame around depression and everyone pretending “every thing is fine” and family members just enabling the person who’s drowning in it. Never works. As a child I was warned not to upset my Mum, in fact to just agree with her even if she was behaving like a controlling child because it was ‘her nerves playing up again’. When I was 14 I made us all sit down and have an honest talk about her obvious anxiety and depression. My Mum is more in control of her emotions – that is too say she at least recognises – it might be the illness and not a rational reaction to the situation. You did the right thing letting her know she has someone to talk to about it, someone who won’t judge but who will be straight forward. Very good decision. Pie always helps, yes.

    Reply
  5. whimseytopia

    You hit the target on this, possibly unintentionally. I HATE TEXTING!!! I absolutely refuse to text. I’ve never sent a text, and when I find them on my phone I delete them without reading. People do HIDE behind texts. There’s no inflection in the voice, so sighs, and no pregnant pauses. No one really knows what anyone is saying. I wish to holy hell someone would decide that texting causes cancer or gives you heart attacks so people would stop doing it all the time. On the other hand, I do know they cause death by auto. That should be enough. Take the keyboard off the wretched phone and put it back on the typewriter where it belongs!!!!!

    Glad is all OK in your house. Very glad she’s OK. …end of rant. Happy New Year…

    Reply
    1. some bad plankton Post author

      Whew, nice rant. And a happy New Year too.
      I partially disagree. I think texting can be useful in certain situations. For example, when you need to convey concrete details with no need to respond immediately, like movie times, or plane arrival dates. I also think we hide behind most of our face-to-face interactions, just in different ways. That being said, I much prefer face to face communication any day of any week. People’s complications and layers are just so much more fascinating that way.

      Reply
      1. whimseytopia

        I totally agree with the logistics side of texting. But as with most things, society takes something to the point of ruin. My husband works in a very large city. He witnessed a mass trip/fall of a group of people, all of whom were walking along with there faces in their phones texting or reading their texts (he assumes). First one bumped into a trash can or a newspaper holder and then those behind him kept tripping and falling, causing those behind to join the pile. He said it was so comical (no one was hurt though a few high heels were broken) that the witnesses froze with laughter. About ten people, not apparently connected, were involved – just walking along the sidewalk not paying any attention to the world around them.

        I’m so old. I really would have enjoyed seeing that.

        Reply

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